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melodicrock.com album preview Eclipse

April 20, 2011

The buzz surrounding Journey's upcoming new studio album Eclipse has already started. Due out May 24 in North America via WalMart and Rest Of The World June 3 via Frontiers Records, the new album has been described by Neal Schon as "...a rock record...sounds amazing..." and by Jonathan Cain "a concept record with some spiritual themes to it...pretty tough, hard-hitting stuff." Band management described it to me as "very melodic.. but more rock...longer songs...". Some very attention grabbing quotes there for long time fans of the band and of this genre in general to salivate over. But fans are often let down when the advance descriptions don't match the finished product. Well not this time!

ECLIPSE is a MASTERPIECE. There...I've said it. This is one bold, brave, challenging and exquisitely constructed album. Yes, it rocks. Like Journey haven't rocked since 1981...and then some. It is one of the boldest, bravest moves I have heard from a classic rock band. Maybe EVER as far as a band of this age goes. But it is still as catchy and melodic as ever. There are so many twists and turns, it is almost progressive in places. This record will likely scare the shit out of fans of Raised On Radio, it has big balls.

Eclipse is dark and heavy, yet melodic. Adventurous, yet familiar. Moody, yet uplifting. Simply bloody AMAZING.

This has been on daily constant rotation for a while now....it has had plenty of time to sink in or wear off and it simply gets better and better. It's a bit rawer than we might be used to from the ever polished Journey though...very well mixed, with a lot constantly going on, but it has such raw energy and power. The constant wall of guitars on this record is unbelievable. Fans of Neal Schon are going to love hearing that EVERY song features wailing solos (sometimes several in one song) and truly hard rocking riffs. The songs are LONG. Most over 6 mins, a few under. It really does feature some utterly amazing guitar work. Neal sounds like 5-guitarists-in-one on some tracks. So much to absorb. And drummer Deen Castronovo is a frickin machine. He has never pounded so hard on those skins, not even in Hardline. I have no hesitation in saying that. The drumming on this album is brutal!

Jonathan Cain has delivered some of his finest lyrics in a long long time. I'm really struck by the depth of the lyrics on this record. It has a spiritual nature and deals with human emotions throughout, but there are some truly uplifting and inspiring lyrics in play here - no matter what the emotion of each song is. Arnel Pineda - well, what can I say. Eclipse is one powerful record and Arnel is pushed to the outer limits of human ability with some of the vocals here. Even when wailing, the soul and emotion within his voice remains true. He spends a lot of the album signing in his own natural timbre, not trying to be Steve Perry or anyone else. But it is still 100% Journey and it works so well. What a stunning vocal performance. STUNNING. His vocals are a MILE in front of Revelation (and how good were those anyway!).

The songs - not one weak moment on there at all. Not one song I would ever skip due to any particular mood. It has to be played thru from start to finish every time - but you'll need over 60 mins to do so! Watch for the hardest rocking Chain Of Love; the heavy, dark mood of Edge Of A Moment (kinda Separate Ways 2011), the upliting feel good anthem Anything Is Possible (sounds like classic Joruney/Bad English AOR); the beyond description She's A Mystery (guitar/vocal acoustic track that turns into Rush meets Triumph!) and one of the most powerful ballads I have heard in years, with vocal power beyond description - Tantra . And of course the classic Journey style anthem City Of Hope, which is released as a single April 4. But as stated, each and every track here is a classic on its own and favourite tracks vary from day to day.

Eclipse has to be considered a masterpiece. Simply put - it is one of the FINEST albums I have heard in my time running this site and has immediately declared itself to be one of my favourite Journey albums EVER. Stay tuned for more...